Logistics and Distribution Institute

Logistics and Distribution Institute (LoDI)

Technological and societal forces have converged in recent years to create both opportunities and challenges for organizations involved in logistics and distribution of goods and services around the globe. The rise of e-commerce, innovation in material handling, robotics and 3D printing, advances in sensors and their role in connecting the “Internet of Things”, new crowdsourcing business models like Uber, the shortage of skilled labor, and more, all combine to create a wide variety of vitally important research topics. LoDI is a university-wide, multi-disciplinary research institute dedicated to finding solutions to these and other challenging problems in the field.

Vision: National recognition as a premier research institute.


  1. Produce excellent research by creating an environment in which scholars and sponsors interact productively.
  2. Disseminate knowledge of logistics by publishing scholarly research, by building and executing a world-class marketing system, and by hosting educational events.
  3. Prepare graduating students for excellent positions by providing rigorous and comprehensive education and by helping them find employment.

Core Research Facilities:

LoDI’s Logistics Innovation Lab is located on the second floor of the JB Speed Building. With generous support of Advanced Solutions, Inc., the lab is well-outfitted with multiple research workstations with access to a suite of advanced modeling software, a small meeting space, and up-to-date tele-conferencing capabilities. The institute also supports individual faculty research and associated labs.


The Institute actively supports a number of fully-funded graduate research assistantships. PhD students receive generous stipends, full tuition and health benefits. LoDI GRAs have many opportunities to work on research and industry projects for a wide variety of companies and organizations. In addition to receiving solutions and insights into technical problems, partnering organizations gain the advantage of working with students as prospective future employees while they are still seeking their degrees. For more information, please contact us.

Institute Leadership:

Executive Director:

Dr. John Usher, Professor Department of Industrial Engineering
Email: . Phone: 502-852-0085

  • Administrative direction of Institute operations and strategic planning
  • Administrative coordination of new proposals and active grants 
  • Participation in active grants and publications
  • Industry liaison and engagement with regional logistics community 
  • Recruitment of PhD students and post-doc researchers
  • Management of staff activities, seminars, workshops, courses and programs
  • Coordination of communications, public reporting, and Institute reviews 
  • Financial management and reporting

Scientific Director:

Dr. Kevin Gue, Professor, Department of Industrial Engineering
Email: . Phone: 502-852-7463

  • Technical direction of Institute research operations 
  • Technical leadership and direction of active grants and publications
  • Lead development of new research proposals and publications
  • Recruitment of PhD students and post-doc researchers
  • Technical direction of Institute-funded students, faculty, staff, and post-doc researchers
  • Development and management of new UofL courses and workshops

Program Manager:

Ms. Emily Burks
Email: . Phone: 502-852-4848 

Internal Board of Advisors:

Dr. Thomas Riedel Professor and Chair, Department of Mathematics, University of Louisville
Dr. Mickey Wilhelm Dean Emeritus, JB Speed School of Engineering, University of Louisville
Dr. Thomas Rockaway Director of the Center for Infrastructure Research and Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Louisville.

External Board of Advisors:

Derrick Bland VP New Business Development, Houston-Johnson
James Shaw VP Customer Solutions, AHS, LLC
Adam Cropper Fulfillment Engineering Manager, TechStyle Fashion Group
L.S. Srinivasan GE Consumer and Industrial

Research Productivity:

  • LoDI Faculty, staff and students are always eager to work with companies and research-funding organizations on projects of any scope and size. LoDI is actively involved or developing new research in many different areas including:
  • Robotic order picking to speed order fulfillment
  • Scheduling of truck fleets in the crude oil industry 
  • Effects of additive manufacturing technologies on logistics operations
  • Demographic issues related to the future of logistics and distribution
  • Warehouse sizing problems under a class-based storage policy
  • High density storage through optimization of rack design and slot sizes
  • High density parking of autonomous vehicles
  • Cross docking design and optimization
  • Worker centric designs within distribution centers
  • Scheduling of EMS vehicles and services

To see further description of these more examples visit http://uofllogistics.org.

Outreach and Community Engagement Activities:

Louisville is one of the great logistics cities in the US because of its centralized US location and tremendous transportation and distribution capabilities, including UPS Worldport for air freight, outstanding rail lines, efficient interstate roadways for trucking and the Ohio River for barge traffic. Because of this infrastructure and the strong surrounding manufacturing base, the region is home to many different distribution centers for leading companies and e-commerce retailers. The Institute has excellent relationships with many of these firms. LoDI continuously seeks to engage and partner with industry to help solve a variety of logistics problems.

LoDI also works directly with the community to engage in logistics-related activities, such as educational workshops and seminars to ensure that participants are up to date on the latest developments in the field.

The LoDI Index:
The LoDI Index was launched in early 2012 and is published monthly to predict the level of logistics and distribution activity in the Greater Louisville area, and in the United States as a whole. Each index utilizes regression analysis forecasting techniques with multiple factors relating to logistics. Data includes factors relating to four main methods of transit: air, trucking, railway, and barge; as well as other economic factors. As a predictive indicator, the LoDI index can help organizations related to the field of logistics and distribution in making educated decisions related to projects, expenditures, and other associated activities, ahead of the curve. The indices are reported as a number between 1 and 100. The higher the index value, the higher the level of predicted activity. An index of 50 represents a level of activity equivalent to the established base year levels. These indexes are used by area companies as well as Bloomberg and the Federal Reserve Bank in St. Louis, which publishes detailed index data in their website. Click here for more information on the LoDI index.

For More Information:

Additional information about LoDI’s research capabilities, industry partnership activities, personnel, facilities, outreach, educational workshops and conferences, and student opportunities can also be found online at http://uofllogistics.org, through our newsletters, or by contacting us directly using the contact information above.